It is with great sadness we announce the passing of LESLIE BRUCE BIG SWALLOW (BIG FOOT) of the Blood Reserve. Les Passed away peacefully at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary on February 6, 2021 surrounded by his wife and children. The Family of Leslie Bruce Big Swallow Omahksiikaa (Big Foot) announces with great sadness the passing of Our Love, Our Rock, Husband, Daddy, Papa- Dad, Great-Grandfather, Son, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Co-worker.
Leslie was born on February 27, 1962 at the Blood Indian Hospital to Donald and Beatrice Big Swallow. His Maternal grandparents—James (Lucy Margaret) Twigg, His Paternal grandparents –Imiitaopiksi (Dogrib) and Sikohiaayaakii (Black Bear Woman).
Leslie Peacefully passed away due to Covid-19 complications, surrounded by his wife, children and grand-children.
Leslie leaves behind his Love of 41 years Delores Big Swallow (Calf Robe), his children Tamara (Colin), Yankee (Eloisa), Marishia (Layne), Shirley (Ashley), Jehu, & Talon (Tiana). Grand-children-Marshall (Shanie), Alex (Acacia), Princess, His babies Eva Rene, Hugh Jordan, Elayna ‘foxy’, Camila ‘dotty’. Great-grandchildren Ella (4), and Aakiikoan (6-months).
Les loved his children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren very much, this brought him a lot of happiness, joy and pride and he would often say that they meant everything to him. They were a Big Part of His Daily Life; he gave his All to them. He often reminded his wife and his children ‘How Much He Loved Them’ and told them everyday ‘I Love You’, in turn all his children would tell each other ‘I Love You’. Les was always talking to them about respecting others, each other, and they will be respected by all who they meet. Les also made sure they knew, that education was really important, and said ‘it will take you far in life’.
Les is survived by his father Donald Big Swallow, his siblings- Pat (Delia) Twigg, Monica (Eric) Plaited Hair, Collette, Delores, Lucille, Albert, Curtiss (Lisa) Big Swallow, and Cindy Plaited Hair, Troy, Angie (Kenny) Creighton, Bradly, 15 Nephews and 21 Nieces. The children of Mary Twigg and the late Albert (Philomena) Twigg were all much a part of his life. His many close relatives and extended families too numerous to mention.
Les also leaves behind his Sisters & Brothers Carla (Bruce) Day Chief, Veronica (Travis) Plaited Hair, Molly (Rex) Davis, Kym (Gary) Scout, Loralee (Joe) Black Water. Special Nieces-10, Nephews-16, Great-Nieces & Nephews-60, Greatgreat Nieces & Nephews 10. Both Les & Delores raised Veronica, Molly, Kym, Loralee, & Ben. Les would often say “Kids raising Kids and we did a good job look at them now”.
Les was adopted by his Crow Family through their traditional ways Adopted parents-Author (the late Elvira) Alden, Brothers Conrad (Tina), Orie (Glenette),
Carl (Barbara), & Sister Mary Alden. Special Nieces & Nephews from the Alden , Hill, Jefferson & Carpenter Families. Also his special Jefferson Family from the Crow Nation – Rebecca, Jennifer, Arnold (Coretta) Jefferson, Connie & Bruce Russell and the late Verena Jefferson , Lydia & Dean Hill. Les had a big heart he opened his home with welcoming arms to foster children, nieces, nephews, & to his children’s friends– Tracy & Jennifer Plaited Hair, Kurt & Leanne Prairie Chicken, Millie, Amanda, Heward, Ben, Lonnie, John, Hailey, Bob, Bryton, Nickayle Racine, Tyson & Kids, Maddie, Lizzy, Tyson & Brittany Scout, Janay, Jacob, Karen & Jarrod, Gabe & Rissa (& kids), Omar, Lita, Don. Tail Feathers, & Justin Grier. The Family would like to apologize if they have missed any names.
Les was predeceased by his Mother Beatrice Big Swallow, his Maternal Grandparents James & Lucy Margaret Twigg, his Paternal Grandparents Imiitapiksi (Dogrib) & Sikohiaayaakii (Black Bear Woman), by his Brothers Donald Twigg, & Kobin Bull Shields, Brother In- Laws he considered Brothers-Hugh. Jr. (Yankee) Calf Robe, & Curtiss. Sr. Calf Robe, Sister Dorothy (Dot) Big Swallow, Nephews Michael (Mikey) Big Swallow, Curtiss Jr. (Bob) Calf Robe, Tristan Plaited Hair, Kieven Scout & Bobby Weasel Head, his Nieces Christina Calf Robe & Mildred (Millie) Scout.
Les received his formal education at St’Mary’s School on the Blood Reserve. Les enjoyed and engaged in several sports, he played for the St’Mary’s Eagles & Warriors Basketball, Football & Baseball teams. He also joined in the Men’s Volleyball, Fastball, & Basketball leagues on the Blood Reserve.
Les was known to many as ‘Big Foot’, and the stories that were shared by many on how they knew him as Big Foot were numerous. His version was that while at his stay with the St’Mary Residential School as a Junior Boy, the Nuns took the young boys to choose and try on shoes, where the shoes were kept. He could not fit any of the shoes for Junior boys, so he was taken to try on shoes for the intermediate boys as they were bigger in size, all the while hoping he would not have to go to the Senior boys’ sizes. Finally, after trying on intermediate boys’ shoes, he was able to fit the largest size, his friends found this funny and from that time on the boys called him ‘Big Foot’ and later shortened it to Foot.
Les learned to provide at an early age and realized how important it is to have an education and employment. He gained experience through different part time jobs by working for many contractors in Fencing, Painting, Potato and General Farming, Branding and Herding cows and horses. Then in 1982 an opportunity came up regarding the Heavy Equipment Program by means of the Blood Tribe Outreach Department; through this Heavy Equipment Program he had the opportunity to work on the Highway #509 on the Blood Reserve. Les went onto pursue further training in Road Building and Heavy Equipment Operating in the year of 1983 at the Keyano College in Fort McMurray, AB. On April 13, 1984, Les started full time as an employee of the Blood Tribe Public Works; he was privileged to work for B.T. Public Works until his passing, a total of 37 years. He was the youngest employee at the time and had gained many friendships along the way and many of whom have shared endless stories and memories of the kindness, respect, friendship, humour, humbleness, compassion, and love they were shown by him. His favourite area to work was in the community known on the Blood Tribe as Old Agency, where he knew that many people appreciated his hard work and by showing their appreciation, they would bring him snacks or even a hot meal. Les was passionate about his job and took so much pride in his work, he will be greatly missed by all who he had crossed paths with. He had many interesting stories with humor, history, life lessons and some far-fetched ones too, he loved to tell stories. As well he had his favorite past times to by reading, watching television, home improvements, and travelling with his children and grandchildren. Most of all he had an endless love for horses and music, he would listen to for example: Lady Gaga, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, The Sky Diggers, and numerous others. Les believed all Prayers and accepted and respected all denominations and believed one Creator for all mankind.
Les had a great impact on many people throughout his life, he lived life to the fullest and truly Loved with all his Heart.
The family of Les Big Swallow would like to thank All the people who made Donations and sent Condolences. We truly appreciate All your support, with All Our Hearts!
Special Note: The Covid-19 virus has affected numerous families on and off the Blood Tribe Reservation. The Big Swallow family would like to remind everyone, that this virus knows no boundaries and to be mindful of the Tragedy of those families that have been affected. Also, to know that when these families are sick and in quarantine that they greatly appreciate any help provided by the caring and thoughtful people that are willing to support them. And to also be mindful of the way we verbally send messages out to understand that it can happen to anyone and to always take care and be cooperative to keep everyone Safe, because we cannot continue to lose loved ones! Also, a big shout out to those that have been so loving and supportive and helped Les Big Swallow’s Family in their time of need during their quarantine!!
The family would like to send out a very special thankyou to the Blood Tribe Emergency Services Platoon A, EMS/Fireteam Brady Collier PCP, Branded Burton ACP. Also, to the Chinook Regional Hospital Covid floor and ICU team. Foothills Hospital ICU team and front-line workers, NIHB, and also to the ones who brought food, medication and water; Blood Tribe Department of Health, Blood Tribe Administration, Blood Tribe Food Bank, Friends and family all of which was greatly appreciated.
A Viewing will be held at Legacy Funeral Home, Cardston on Monday, February 15, 2021 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm and on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 from 9:00 - 11:00 am with a Family Service to follow at 11:00 am. (Due to COVID-19 - only 20 people will be allowed in the building at a time.) Interment to follow at Big Swallow family Cemetery.
To Send the Family a Condolence please CLICK HERE.